MotoGP

Pol Espargaro drops clearest hint yet on Honda 2021 MotoGP move

Pol Espargaro acknowledges Honda's interest in him for the 2021 MotoGP World Championship season, says a deal would be 'a dream'

Pol Espargaro has for the first time given his own take on the brewing speculation he is in the cusp of leaving KTM in favour of joining Repsol Honda for the 2021 MotoGP season.

The Spaniard made his MotoGP debut in 2014 and has since gone on to ride for Tech 3 Yamaha and the KTM Factory team when it entered the sport for the first time in 2017.

From youthful talent to experienced project leader, Espargaro’s stock has grown on the back of his contribution to making KTM a regular top ten contender each weekend, prompting Honda to take a keen interest.

However, while Honda itself was evasive towards the rumours when they first emerged, Espargaro himself is more forward but denies a contract has been signed as yet.

“Nothing for sure official, at the moment,” he told the official MotoGP website. ”The situation in MotoGP is that there are some seats and I have a contract until the end of this year, so the MotoGP factories are asking riders and I am free to listen to what they offer.”

“It is a good situation when you are in a factory, with KTM, a big name and a big factory fighting for something interesting at the end of the year with a bike project on my shoulders, then having some other offers. 

“It is a dream offer to have two factories on the table with an offer. Also, there are other factories in the game, so we are talking with all of them.

“I don’t know what is going to happen, or the future but the situation is good for my side, I’ve done a good season last year and we have improved a lot.”

#2 at Honda or #1 at KTM?

Though joining Honda from KTM is a no-brainer in terms of sheer competitiveness on paper, the difference is undoubtedly the level of attention Espargaro would receive versus the other.

At KTM, he has become more than simply its team leader. While the Austrian isn’t quite consistently where it needs to be three years into the project, it does every now and then show flashes of exceptional pace always in Espargaro’s hands, especially in qualifying. 

That, coupled to rare offs on a bike known for being quite a handful, means Espargaro should get on well with the RC213V which is believed to share similar traits. He may also get some welcome wisdom from Honda-turned-KTM developer Dani Pedrosa.

However, coming into a team with Marquez as world champion and more than four years to run on his contract puts Espargaro on a back foot situation, meaning he’ll have to really carve out his own foothold if he is to make himself heard over Marquez’s voice.

Honda won’t of course treat Espargaro badly, but they won’t treat him as a king like KTM would because they already have one…
 

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